Compositions by Steve Wiest

Below is a wide-ranging cross-section of some of my compositions over the years. I am jazz-based, but as you will see and hear, I am hybrid as well. To me, all music and areas of creative endeavor are on the table and fair game: good music is good music, period!

There are simply no "silos" here in Wiestworld!

I have also included a few of my arrangements. Strictly speaking, arrangements are not originals but I subscribe to the school of thought that an arrangement can and should consist of a great deal of original composition to give it a personal spin. Enjoy!

Commissions copy.jpg
 

Ice-Nine.

Nominated for Best Instrumental Composition at the 52nd Grammy Awards. Programmatically informed by Kurt Vonnegut's ultimate doomsday weopon in his novel "Cat's Cradle."

Written for the UNT One O'Clock Lab Band. Soloists: Sylvester Onyejiaka: tenor sax,

Luke Brimhall: trombone, and Michael D'Angelo: drums.

 

The Burglar of Babylon.

Incidental music commissioned by Ann Grifalconi for a spoken word performance by David Hoak of Elizabeth Bishop's timeless poem: The Ballad of the Burgalar of Babylon."

Performed by Daniel Pardo's Eclectic Ensemble.

 

The Neither Zone.

Written for the project "Concerto for Folded Space" with trombone and flute choir, the Eclectric Band (Daniel Pardo, Stockton Helbing, Ryan Davidson, Noel Johnston, and Braylon Lacy) Soloists: Jimmy Pankow, and Steve Wiest: trombones, and Noel Johnston: guitar.

 

Violet Iris.

From the Phröntrange debut "The High Road." When I was a young boy, I was fascinated with the iris garden in the backyard of my great grandparent's home in Cameron, Missouri. In the intro of this piece I try to capture that early childhood wonder and appreciation of nature. Following the intro (with my son Matthew on cello!) the tune moves into more of a high intensity-yet playful vibe that is joined here-and-there by the violet-hued intro textures. And the band CRUSHES this one! Eric Gunnison (piano) and Art Bouton (EWI) are both featured on solo sections along with myself, and the interplay between the entire group is nothing short of...well, it's like a band of best friends having fun in the springtime playing games. Enjoy!

 

One Song.

From the debut album of my all-star horn band Vinyl Hampdin. Programmatically inspired by Carl Sagan's heartrendingly beautiful "Pale Blue Dot," this composition tells the story of what the Earth would sing to us if she only had "One Song."  Vocals: Lisa Dodd,

Guitar soloist: Ryan Davidson.

 

New Seasons.

Commisioned by and performed here live by the Denver Brass, "New Seasons" takes the concept of the iconic Baroque work by Vivaldi (The Four Seasons") and uses modern post-bop harmonies along with some Stravinsky and John Williams to portray the four seasons of the year. The movements are titled: 1.Leaf Peeping (Autumn) 2.The Aspen Fireplace (Winter) 3. The Earth Wakes Up (Spring) and 4. A Hike to the Lake (Summer)

 

The Flutes of Glastonbury.

From my project "Concerto for Folded Space" which was informed by my science fiction novel THE DOVER STONE, this is a work inspired by Led Zeppelin and Paul Hindemith. As you can see in the analysis below, I also get into what I call "gluten free serial writing" as well. I remain tonal, but my rows generate some wonderfully angular textures that are reminiscent of Mr. Hindemith. Double-tracked trombone solos by myself and flute solo/choir by Daniel Pardo.

 

The Flutes of Glastonbury, Flute Soli Analysis:

Sir Paul.

From the second album project of my all-star horn band Vinyl Hampdin, Sir Paul is my musical homage to the great Beatle himself: Sir Paul McCartney, After unsuccessfully trying to get to the heart of Paul's style harmonically, I finally made a breakthrough discovery myself via a discussion that I had with our very own modern day Mozart, Jacob Collier.  I had asked Jacob about his thoughts on negative harmony in a clinic presentation.

Suddenly VOILA! Paul McCartney! Who knew?

Solos by Frank Greene on piccolo trumpet, and vocals by Lisa Dodd (background and Scottish pub vocals by myself) Bagpipes by Logic Pro.

 

Five Arrangements:

Besame Mucho.

Nominated for Best Instrumental Arrangment at the 50th Grammy Awards, Besame Mucho was written for my dear friend Maynard Ferguson for what ended up becoming his final album. I played trombone in the horn section for this one, and soloists are Maynard Ferguson and Wayne Bergeron on trumpet along with a wonderful intro drum solo by Stockton Helbing.

 

Overjoyed.

Written for Art Bouton's Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra, this is my arrangement of Stevie Wonder's classic composition "Overjoyed" using the style of Thad Jones.  Featuring the amazing vocal interpretations by Robert Johnson, piano solo by Eric Gunnison, and trumpet soloist

Gabe Mervine.

 

Living for the City.

Also written for Art Bouton's Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra, for their project "Overjoyed: The Music of Stevie Wonder," this is my arrangement of Stevie's iconic "Living for the City." Trombone solos by myself and featuring the great musicians of the CJRO in Denver, CO.

 

I Love You.

I originally wrote this arrangement for Maynard Ferguson for his album "Brass Attitude," then extended it and enlarged the orchestration for the UNT One O'Clock Lab Band for my final album as director of that ensemble: "Lab 2014." Using a Cuban salsa approach and utilizing a STELLAR group of virtuoso students, this is my arrangement of

Cole Porter's classic "I Love You."

Soloists:

Brian Handeland: bari sax, Stuart Mack: trumpet, Nolan Byrd: drums; Lupe Barrera: percussion,

Zach Steele: lead trombone, and Jake Boldman: lead trumpet.

Full personnell on the YouTube video info section.

 

On Green Dolphin Street.

Featuring myself on trombone, this one comes from my first project as a leader:

"Excalibur: The Steve Wiest Big Band." On this one, I was making a big study of Brookmeyer, Thad, and Copland for texture influence. Aaron Copland really pays us a visit on the intro, then it's Brookmeyer and me for the rest of the chart.

One More Original:

 

The Once and Future Groove

Also from my "Excalibur" big band project, this totally straight ahead and swingin' original (as the Arthurian title suggests) is my homage to the ultimate large jazz ensemble groove of all times (past, present, and future) the Count Basie band. Fueled by the Freddie Green-influenced rhythm guitar of Mike Standal, the bass of Bob Bowman, Dave Bayles on drums, and Matt Harris covering the piano chair, this medium tempo "business man's bounce" is simply the gold standard in swing.

The long interlude-sendoff to my solo section is a triple tribute: Thad Jones wrote a tribute to Freddie Green with the trombone section soli in his classic arrangement of "All of Me" and Bob Mintzer wrote a tribute to that very Thad effect in Bob's composition "Tribute." Therefore, my soli-sendoff is a tribute to Bob's tribute to Thad's tribute to Freddy Green. And so it goes...

Solos: Glenn Kostur: bari sax, Myself: trombone

Mike Williams: lead trumpet